Randy Waldrum

Pitch Points: ACC Debut Worth The Wait For #8 Irish

Sept. 13, 2013

RALEIGH, N.C. — Notre Dame head coach Randy Waldrum would be the first to admit that he’s not crazy about waiting. So when his eighth-ranked Fighting Irish had their pre-match warmups interrupted by lightning 15 minutes before kickoff of the program’s inaugural Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC) match Thursday night at North Carolina State, it had the Notre Dame manager a tad perturbed.

However, while Waldrum fretted, his players were anything but bothered by what turned out to be a 48-minute delay. Instead, the Fighting Irish adjourned to their locker room at the Dail Soccer Field and quickly cranked up the music for an impromptu karaoke and dance party, led by junior defenders Taylor Schneider (Southlake, Texas/Carroll Senior) and Sammy Scofield (Geneva, Ill./Geneva), junior forward Lauren Bohaboy (Mission Viejo, Calif./Santa Margarita) and sophomore midfielder Cari Roccaro (East Islip, N.Y./East Islip).

The locker room party seemed to do the trick, as Notre Dame returned from the delay and, other than a brief hiccup early in the match, the Fighting Irish dominated for large stretches of the night on the way to a 3-1 win over the Wolfpack, earning Notre Dame’s first ACC regular-season victory in any sport.

“There’s a real nice chemistry and bond with this team and things like a lightning delay or giving up an early goal aren’t going to rattle them,” Waldrum said. “These players really enjoy each other’s company and it shows on and off the field.”

As Scofield pointed out, Notre Dame has become quite familiar with weather delays in recent years, having had five matches held up by lightning since the start of 2011, including a second-half delay in a 4-0 Fighting Irish win over Oakland earlier this season (Aug. 30 at Alumni Stadium).

“We’ve been through this a few times since I’ve been here, so we’re kind of prepared in case we have to deal with it,” Scofield said. “There’s not a whole lot you can do other than wait it out, so why not have some fun while you wait?”

“It’s not ideal because you get into your pre-game routine and then it gets stopped,” Roccaro added. “But if you want to be one of the best teams in the country, you have to be able to expect the unexpected and handle any adversity that gets thrown your way.”

Following Friday’s late-morning recovery/training session on the practice pitch at N.C. State, Notre Dame players returned to the team hotel for an afternoon study hall session, a staple on all Fighting Irish athletics trips. The team then headed to an area restaurant for a special dinner with approximately 25 members of the Notre Dame Club of Eastern North Carolina. The local club features members covering more than 60 years of Notre Dame alumni, as well as some youngsters who could be future Fighting Irish students.

“These dinners are always among the highlights of our trips, because it’s a chance to meet with some of our friends and supporters from the local area where we’re playing,” Waldrum said. “Notre Dame has alums in practically every city, state and country on the planet and it’s always nice to see some friendly faces wearing the Fighting Irish blue and gold, especially when you’re in an unfamiliar place. Now that we’re in the ACC, this will give us a great opportunity to meet some new alumni clubs in the conference footprint, and learn even more why they say there’s no place like Notre Dame.”

Notre Dame’s win at N.C. State lifted the Fighting Irish to 21-1-1 all-time in conference openers (Midwestern Collegiate, BIG EAST, ACC) with a 105-8 aggregate scoring margin … Notre Dame moved to 2-1 all-time against N.C. State, playing its first match against the Wolfpack since Sept. 24, 1993 (a 3-0 win at old Alumni Field) … Thursday night’s win was not only the first-ever victory for the Fighting Irish on the N.C. State campus, but their first win in the state of North Carolina since Dec. 5, 2010, when Notre Dame edged Stanford, 1-0, at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C., to win the program’s third national championship … lost in the shuffle, but Thursday’s win also was Notre Dame’s first in a road opener since Sept. 5, 2008, when the fifth-ranked Fighting Irish shaded No. 3 North Carolina, 1-0 at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C., courtesy of a 51st-minute goal by All-America midfielder Brittany Bock … Notre Dame has scored at least three goals in five of its first six matches, something the Fighting Irish last pulled off in the 2005 season … Scofield and sophomore forward Crystal Thomas (Elgin, Ill./Wheaton Academy) each netted their first goals of the season on Thursday night, giving Notre Dame 11 different goal scorers and 14 separate point scorers through its first six matches this season.

Notre Dame will return to the pitch at 1 p.m. (ET) Sunday when it takes on No. 1 North Carolina at Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill, N.C., in an ACC match that will be televised live on ESPN3. It will mark the first time the two most successful programs in NCAA Division I women’s soccer history will do battle in conference play.

UNC (7-0, 1-0) opened its ACC season Thursday night with a 2-1 victory at No. RV/22 Virginia Tech. The Tar Heels picked up goals in each half from Paige Nielsen and Kealia Ohai, offsetting a late Hokie score to register the 750th career win for head coach Anson Dorrance.

For more information on the Fighting Irish women’s soccer program, follow Notre Dame on Twitter (@NDsoccernews or @NDsoccer), like the Fighting Irish on Facebook (facebook.com/NDWomenSoccer) or sign up for the Irish ALERT text-messaging system through the “Fan Center” pulldown menu on the main page at UND.com.

— Chris Masters, Associate Athletic Media Relations Director